Tribpedia: Julián Castro

Julián Castro serves on President Barack Obama's Cabinet as Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was tapped for the job during his third term as mayor of San Antonio; he was sworn in as head of HUD on July 28, 2014. He is the older brother (by a few minutes) of his identical twin, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio. 

Born Sept. 16, 1974, the twins’ mother is Hispanic activist Rosie Castro, an early leader of La Raza Unida, an organization that fielded statewide and local candidates in Texas in the 1970s. Julián Castro is married to Erica Lira Castro, an elementary school teacher, and they have a daughter and a son.

Both Castro brothers attended Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, and then graduated from Stanford University in 1996. Both then earned law degrees from Harvard University. Julián Castro was the first to enter politics, winning a San Antonio City Council seat in 2001. In 2005, he ran for mayor, gaining the most votes in the six-candidate field but not enough to avoid a runoff, which he lost to Phil Hardberger. He ran again in 2009, this time winning the job.

As mayor, Julián Castro was an aggressive booster of the city, the seventh-largest in the country. Education and fitness were recurring themes of his tenure. His initiatives included getting salad bars into public schools and a program to bring tens of thousands more children into preschools — funded with a sales tax hike.

Both brothers are seen as rising stars on the national stage. Julián Castro sat next to first lady Michelle Obama at the president’s 2012 State of the Union address, then made the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention later that year. 


Clockwise from left: former state Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, (r.) and his twin brother, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro signs a copy of Texas Monthly while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Columbus, Ohio on November 6, 2016.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro

Sign Up for The Brief

Our daily news summary